Euthanasia not the answer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 February, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to Allison Yeung's letter (South China Morning Post, January 26). Nowadays, most physical pain from cancer can be eradicated or reduced by different pain killers. It is heartbreaking to hear continuously that many patients are still suffering from enormous pain, to the stage of even turning to euthanasia or assisted suicide.

This gives rise to a discussion on whether patients have the right to make such decisions.

Before we advocate euthanasia for patients, we should ask ourselves whether we have tried our very best to fulfil their needs in bringing them comfort and care so that family and patient can still enjoy their very limited but terribly precious remaining time together.

The real problem to be addressed here in response to Ms Yeung's letter is pain control, and psychological and spiritual support to both patient and family during this important but critical moment of their lives.

If we handle the dying process properly, we can grow and appreciate life and living together; otherwise, memories of negativity, frustration, guilt and sorrow stay with the survivors.

Death education is especially essential at this time. We are enjoying the magnificent outcome of scientific progress, so there may be a tendency to lose the direction and thought that we are immortal. Suffering occurs when we are searching for the impossibilities and anticipating the pain and suffering which may or may not be accompanied with death and dying. It is cruel, but it can be a reality that people can die of fear, despair and social isolation.


Sha Tin